Re-opening of clinic up in smoke.

JMPD were at the scene in case the protest turned violent.

It was meant to be a joyous day for the re-opening of the Riverpark Clinic, however, yet again, it ended in protest and anger, with roads being blocked and burning tyres strewn about.

On 26 January, the opening of the clinic was met with displeasure and resentment from the surrounding community, who protested about the lack of jobs from the clinic and the lack of support from government officials. Then again, on 28 February, the re-opening was halted as protesters claimed none of the issues had been addressed since the previous protest.

Members of Jozi@work, which was spearheaded by the previous ANC administration, were responsible for burning tyres and blocking off nearby roads. The Jozi@work programme was designed to turn job seekers into job creators in order to reduce poverty, inequality and unemployment, however, Mashaba cancelled the programme as he claimed unfair practices were employed when allocating jobs, and that work opportunities were based more on ANC membership.

Sipho Monguzulu from Jozi@work said, “We are angry with the Mayor of Joburg, Herman Mashaba; he must generate his own budget and start his own clinic. The community is responsible for building this clinic and we must have more rights.”

Tyres are set alight in the surrounding areas of the community.

City of Joburg spokesperson, Nkosinathi Nkabinde said of the previous protest at the clinic, “The ward councillor and the City’s health department will continue to talk with the community and try to find an amicable solution.”

A member of the protest, who wishes to remain anonymous said, “Yet again, we were not consulted about jobs or the opening day, and nothing had been resolved from the previous protest. We will not let Mashaba have an easy victory; he is not for the people and, as such, we will not support him. We want former Mayor Parks Tau, to represent us and fight for us.

“We are not about violence and we support the clinic, we just want the clinic to support us too.”

Monguzulu added, “There were only 10 people who were invited to the opening day and they were all VIPs – no one from the surrounding community.”

Metro police were present at the protest which did not turn violent, and the protesters dispersed immediately when asked to by the police.

Ward 81 councillor Irene Rugheimer said, “[On February 28, acts of intimidation and disruptive behaviour by the ANC have sadly prevented the successful opening of the Riverpark Clinic. Protesters wore Jozi@work and EPWP uniforms and were led by the previous ANC councillor.

Community members and the CWP expressed their anger at the lack of support they receive.

“They stated the opening should be conducted by the former City of Joburg Mayor Parks Tau or the former MMC, Nonceba Molwele. Such demands are a blatant attack on the democratic outcomes of last year’s elections and blur the lines between party and State. The demands by the ANC were nothing more than grandstanding,” claimed Rugheimer.

Spokesperson for the Mayor’s Office, Tony Taverna-Turisan said, “Cooperation [is] a crucial ingredient for ensuring the success of the City. I invited the City’s former MMC, Nonceba Molwele, an ANC leader, to ensure credit [was given] to the previous administration for starting this project.

“Sadly, the ANC would rather engage in acts which promote public violence and undermine the safety of residents. It is clear that the ANC in Joburg is adamant [about] robbing communities of access to quality public services.”

Read: City Power welcomes Mashaba’s investigation

What are your thoughts about the continuing protest at River Park Clinic. Share your thoughts on 079 439 5345.

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